American Trucking Association to Create 50,000 Career Opportunities

Today, leaders from the American Trucking Associations pledged that the trucking group would provide at least 50,000 people enhanced career opportunities as part of today’s Trump administration announcement to provide pathways to better careers for a half a million Americans.

“ATA is proud to be part of this effort to provide enhanced career opportunities to hard-working Americans. Our nation’s economy depends on our trucks moving goods from ports, factories and farms to stores and homes – and we depend on the millions of men and women who drive those trucks, maintain those trucks, load and unload those trucks and route those trucks,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We appreciate President Trump and Secretary Acosta making this a priority and having the vision to follow through with today’s executive order. We hope that through this workforce development effort, we will be able to connect more Americans to family-supporting incomes and address the persistent shortage we face in attracting enough well-trained workers to our industry.  The economy is strong and unemployment is low, but there are critical shortages of skilled workers in sectors of the economy, like truck drivers, technicians and mechanics.  We support these efforts to help ensure Americans have the skills and training needed to support the modern economy.”

ATA was represented at today’s White House event by past ATA Chairman Dan England, chairman of the board at C.R. England Inc., Salt Lake City.

“C.R. England believes in providing hard-working Americans a path to a better life,” England said. “That’s why we work so hard at our driving schools and training facilities, giving people a place to learn important and valuable skills that can keep our industry and our economy moving.

“Our industry is under constant pressure to bring in new drivers and new technicians to replace an aging workforce and to keep up with the demands of a modern, just-in-time economy,” he said. “Today’s announcement underscores our commitment, and ATA’s commitment, to doing all we can to provide opportunities for careers in trucking.”

At today’s announcement, ATA pledged to offer enhanced career opportunities to 10,000 people a year, every year, for the next five years, bringing the total commitment to 50,000.

Read the full release at trucking.org 

Project Bike Tech Educating Students for a Bike Mechanic Career

Project Bike Tech (PBT) is a non-profit specializing in educating high school students on bike mechanic skills and provide career preparation training. As they move forward into their 10-year anniversary they are expanding their educational program to Colorado.

Currently, Project Bike Tech is operating in multiple California schools and this move to Colorado expands PBT to a national level and sets the stage to innovate program offerings to include college credit eligible programs and an emphasis with the math and science in bike design.

Originally the program was founded as a 4-semester Career Technical Education class, and PBT has already successfully launched young people into careers within the bicycle industry. Preparing young people with bike mechanical skills is an important component of a future career within the bicycle industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for bicycle repair jobs is forecast to grow nationally by 29.3 % by 2026 leading to a significant shortage of bike mechanics as cycling emerges as a critical component of urban transportation planning.

According to Mercedes Ross, PBT’s Executive Director, “Nationally, demand for bicycle technicians is expanding rapidly. Students in our classes are exposed to an immersive educational experience centered around bicycle mechanics while learning key life skills like resume writing, job interview techniques, and teamwork.” The PBT curriculum also encompasses other core academic principles like mathematics, physics, and engineering that fit in with more traditional academic concepts. “We’ve created a hands-on class that can not only produce graduates who are primed for a position in a bike shop right away, but also exposes our students to a myriad of career opportunities in the bicycle and outdoor industries,” added Ms. Ross.

You can find more information about Project Bike Tech on their website here.

 

Totally Trades! Conference Inspires Girls to Explore Nontraditional Careers

The Totally Trades! Conference at Northern Maine Community College allows 8th grade and high school girls to consider careers in fields that are traditionally dominated by men.

“We just want them to remove gender from the equation today, think more broadly about careers and exploration and activities just to spark their thinking,” said coordinator Suzanne Jandreau.

Rachel Drost has known for years that she wants to go into building construction. This event is right up her alley.

“Right now I’m the only girl in my class so it’s kind of hard sometimes, but you learn how to do it, you learn to use different muscles you probably haven’t used before,” said Drost.

Close to 140 girls participated- they came from 16 different schools from all over Aroostook County. They got hands on experience in trades like welding, plumbing and heating, and heavy equipment operation. Sally O’Neal was a truck driver for the Maine Department of transportation 28 years ago, now she’s a transportation crew technician.

“We don’t take no for an answer anymore. Can’t do it? We can do it,” she said.

She can, and now these young women know that they can too.

Check out the full video of this program on Wagmtv.com!

A Career Trucker Helps To Steer The Path For Self-Driving Trucks

When Jeff Runions started his trucking career nearly 40 years ago, he had high hopes for what the job might bring.

“I wanted the American dream.”

Since then he’s seen the industry from every step of the ladder — as an independent owner-operator, a full-time company driver, a parts manager, and finally a trucking depot manager.

In his latest job developing autonomous trucks, Runions, 58, has a front row seat to what many see as the future of the 700 billion dollar trucking industry. He’s found himself in the middle of a heated race between Silicon Valley juggernauts like Uber and Google to get their self-driving trucks out onto the road first.

“It’s like when they went to the moon,” Runions says. “We’re not going to the moon, but it feels kinda like a new technology’s coming up and how many people would think a semi would be driving itself?”

Jeff Runions, during his years as an owner-operator, with his truck.

Courtesy of Jeff Runions/Courtesy of Jeff Runions

Runions, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., works a startup called Starsky Robotics — a company smaller than Uber or Google. Instead of trying to beat their competition to developing fully autonomous vehicles, Starsky’s strategy is to develop trucks that are fully autonomous on the highway — then let remote drivers take the wheel from offices filled with arcade-style consoles, when they hit city streets.

The strategy is still in its testing phase: Runions is a safety-driver. He sits in the driver’s seat of the truck cabin, ready to take control if there’s trouble. His test rides range from an hour and a half to eight hours-long.

“I come up with some suggestions once in a while and they do work. I’m not an engineer like these guys are, but sometimes they listen to me. So, that means I’m part of the team too,” he said.

Runions, after all, has nearly four decades of experience in the trucking industry under his belt.

In the mid-80s, he became an owner-operator, and purchasing a truck and leasing out his services on contract to freight companies.

For a while, Runions enjoyed the freedom that came with having his own truck and the camaraderie he found with fellow truckers he met while crisscrossing the country.

“We were like the cowboys of the old days, doing our own thing,” he said. “We were truckers, and we were young. We were having a good time.”

But as the years dragged on, life on the road began to lose its luster. Between regular sleep deprivation and a diet based on truck stop junk food, Runions started to feel that the trucker lifestyle was unhealthy. And the hectic schedule took a toll on his family life.

After fuel prices surged in the early 2000s, Runions decided that going it alone didn’t make financial sense for him anymore. After more than 20 years of contracting himself out, Runions sold his truck and took a job with a commercial trucking company.

But he soon found that the new gig had its own downsides.

“A normal driver that works for a company, they gotta stay out three weeks at a time, and they give them two days off when they get home,” he said. “Soon as they get home, after their two days, they gotta go right back out for 21 more days. That ain’t much of a life. Then you’re staying in that box again.”

Runions eventually worked his way up to management, but despite the position’s better pay, he found its hours and stress were even worse.

“I was always in there from 3 o’ clock in the morning to 3 o’ clock in the afternoon,” he said. “I was [worn] out, so I decided to try something that was different. And you can’t get more different than this.”

Runions came across an online ad for a technology company in search of experienced truck drivers. At first, he was unsure about getting behind the wheel of a self-driving truck, but he says he’s come to enjoy the work and its hours. “I’m home when I need to be,” he said. “I’m a happy person now.”

Runions says that since he began as a test-driver in early 2017, he’s heard pushback from people who doubt the safety of autonomous vehicles.

“People are scared of this technology because they don’t understand exactly what’s going on with it,” he said.

Read more about Jeff and the future of self-driving trucks at NPR.org

With our Shortage of Skilled Workers, Career and Technical Education is Ready to be Taken Seriously

This story is part of Map to the Middle Class, a Hechinger Report series that explores how schools can prepare young people for the good middle-class jobs of the future.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — It was tough to nail down a favorite: maybe the chicken cordon bleu with sweet potatoes. But the lasagna was also amazing, and it was hard to top the scalloped potatoes that came with the prime rib.

Delivered desk-side on Thursdays before last bell, still hot from the kitchen and packed takeout style in brown paper bags, the meals were a buzzy new collaboration between Manchester School of Technology (MST) business students and the school’s Culinary Arts program. Beyond providing a weeknight meal plus leftovers to the 30 teachers and administrators who bought $60 memberships to the plan, the effort was also born of urgent need.

Career and technical education (CTE) programs such as those offered at MST — which feature academically and professionally rigorous classes and send graduates off to postsecondary programs at high rates — may be uniquely positioned to prepare young adults for the future of work.

As traditional blue-collar industries decline across the country, the casualties of automation and offshoring, they are increasingly being replaced by skilled service jobs such as those in health care, information technology and finance, according to research by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. While good middle-class jobs are disappearing for people with only high-school diplomas, New Hampshire, with its workforce aging, is struggling to fill 17,000 jobs, many of them in skilled occupations.

And it’s only going to get worse. The state is losing its youth. Nearly 50 percent of New Hampshire’s college-going high school graduates are leaving the state. A significant factor is that college education in New Hampshire is the priciest in America. Those who leave seeking a more affordable education often do not return to the state to work, live and start families.

High-quality CTE, experts hope, will address many of these issues with retooled, up-to-date programs that help propel students to postsecondary education and, in the process, give them more in-state connections and prepare them not only for in-demand jobs but for the flexibility the future will require.

But career and technical education is in some ways still caught in the shadow of what experts call “grandpa’s vocational school.” Historically, such programs were limited to a handful of skilled trades that did not necessarily lead to well-paying jobs; students were separated into vocational and nonvocational categories early in their academic careers.

Like many career and technical schools, the Manchester School of Technology used to offer only a part-time program for juniors and seniors from nearby high schools, but MST gave itself a face-lift in 2012 when it launched its own full-time high school. Today, in the hope of getting young people excited about learning — and keeping them closer to home — the school is trying to cross-pollinate academic and technical instruction, which is how the chicken cordon bleu with sweet potatoes came about.

At MST, where students may study a wide range of sought-after careers, from game design and aeronautical engineering to HVAC and nursing, teachers and administrators are working overtime to innovate and prove the school’s worth, hoping to both increase and highlight the value of CTE in today’s job economy. Principal Karen Hannigan Machado travels annually to Washington to secure her school’s $650,000 allotment of Perkins funding (those funds are “just a drop in the bucket,” she said). Teachers and school counselors visit local middle schools to evangelize about MST’s college and career opportunities, and they organize open houses and special events to coax local businesses to provide internships for students.

To read the full story, visit PBS.com

NETWC Spotlights

Check out the programs and people who have recently been highlighted by the Northeast Transportation Workforce Center!

Aviation Explorer Post

Toddy Thomas Middle School from Fortuna, California won the 2018 Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition with their piezoelectric project titled “Small Steps, Big Difference.” Sponsored by the Mineta Transportation Institute, the Garrett Morgan Competition fosters student interest in transportation-related careers. Using the MTI Teacher’s Guide, and guided by their sponsor, Caltrans District 1, Toddy Thomas presented a project that would harness the energy of the human step to power their school bus.

Aviation Explorer Post

On April 18th, a new Aviation Explorer Post was started at Morristown Airport. The goal of the post is to help young men and women, ages 14-20, learn about careers in aviation. At the first meeting, the Explorers toured the airport and discussed which careers the post will focus on at future meetings. Pilot, air traffic controller, maintenance, and design are some of the areas that will be covered by active professionals. The post is chartered to DM Airports Ltd., and plans to meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month. New Explorers are welcome and can register at https://tinyurl.com/aviationexploring.

   

More women leaders needed for Transportation Projects

Women leaders make a difference. Minority leaders make a difference. Small business leaders make a difference. Our transportation system touches everyone in our diverse population, so it’s critical to gain input, perspectives and talent from all parts of our community.

Better representation in the leadership ranks will help ensure major infrastructure projects are designed and built to meet the wide-ranging needs of our entire community. Inclusive leadership won’t happen by accident; luckily, there are people and companies working to make it a reality.

   

AutoCare Association Participates in Workforce Conference

Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, recently participated in the National Association of Workforce Boards’ “The Forum 2018” annual conference where he and other representatives from the nation’s largest employment sectors met to discuss solutions for finding and retaining qualified employees.

   

St. Johnsbury Academy Students Learn Trades Right On Campus

Unlike most programs in the state, Career and Technical Education at St. Johnsbury Academy is integrated into the larger academic school. As a result, 80 percent of the full student body takes at least one CTE course during their academic career, and two-thirds of the students who focus their time in CTE go on to secondary education in their trade field or employment in that field. In this program you’ll hear from five students and two teachers in the CTE program at the Academy. They are kids who love to “work with their hands” and “learn by doing,” hoping to graduate from high school with employable skills.

   

NJ Strives to Stay Ahead in Transportation, Logistics, and Distribution

New Jersey’s business and government leaders recognize the value in the state becoming a major center of distribution and logistics, so they are looking for its education system to help New Jersey remain a step ahead. Business leaders say they have plenty of jobs available in this sector and want colleges to evolve, so well-trained workers are available here in the Garden State well into the future.

   

Electrify Pennsylvania Transportation System

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection soon will begin recommending projects to receive funding from the state’s settlement allocation (nearly $120 million) to help right this wrong and offset the vehicles’ additional pollution. State leaders should select projects that achieve long-term emissions reductions and help focus our transportation sector on building infrastructure for clean electric vehicles.

   

UMES Summer Transportation Institution Pushes to Stimulate Interest in STEM Career

Middle schoolers participated in the Summer Transportation Institution at UMES during June 19th to July 7th, 2017. This program provides awareness and hopes to stimulate interest towards transportation and STEM-related careers.  Students are able to explore these fields through field trips and hands on activities.

   

3 Reasons to Hire a Hero

As thousands of American employers know, hiring veterans is a smart move. There are more than 7 million veterans in the U.S. labor force, meaning they’re either employed or actively looking for work. If you’re curious about working with veterans, here are three great reasons to hire one:

   

Forget Autonomous Cars; Autonomous Ships are Already Here

The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) is proud to announce that Insights Success magazine has named Ellen Voie, its president and CEO, as one of the “30 Most Empowering Women in Business.” Voie founded WIT in 2007 to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, remove obstacles that might discourage women from considering a career in transportation, and celebrate the successes of association members. WIT has grown dramatically over the past decade and now exceeds 4,500 members.

   

Women In Trucking Association CEO Named One of the “30 Most Inspirational Leaders in Business”

The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) is proud to announce that Insights Success magazine has named Ellen Voie, its president and CEO, as one of the “30 Most Empowering Women in Business.” Voie founded WIT in 2007 to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, remove obstacles that might discourage women from considering a career in transportation, and celebrate the successes of association members. WIT has grown dramatically over the past decade and now exceeds 4,500 members.

Container shipping takes on digital initiatives

“Maersk’s partnership with IBM, announced in March, to develop blockchain solutions for freight is one example of potential mutual benefit. According to one estimate, shippers spend twice as much on shipping processes, including documentation, as they do on actual freight movement.”

 

Transportation Technology Wises Up

Self-driving trucks, intelligent highways and freight-hauling apps are changing the way goods can be transported and delivered. Semi-autonomous vehicle technologies also offer a potential solution to the shortage of truck drivers,  with many drivers having recently retired from the industry. These advanced technologies may actually extend the careers of aging drivers and attract even more candidates to the industry, including women.

12 Stats About Working Women

This Women’s History Month, we’re taking a look at women’s contributions to the U.S. labor force.  Here are some noteworthy statistics we’ve rounded up!

 

Graduate Student Internship in Division of Capital Investment Planning & Development

The NJDOT Bureau of Research has issued this posting on behalf of the division of Capital Investment Planning & Development. The CIPD requires the assistance in the identification, preparation, and submission of project modifications or amendments to the STIP in accordance with the MOU for TIP/STOP changes between the three MPOs, NJ Transit, and NJDOT, fully executed October 2012.

 

Why Apprenticeships Are Taking Off

For the last decade, the Manpower Group, a human resources consultancy, has tracked the skills gap. It found that employers across the globe are facing the most acute talent shortage since the recession in 2007. Of the more than 42,000 employers surveyed, 40 percent said they are experiencing difficulty filling roles.


Operating Engineers Training Programs

Over the years, IUOE local unions throughout the U. S. and Canada have developed and implemented comprehensive training programs that are widely recognized as the best in a number of industries. Our aim has been and continues to be to provide highly skilled, safe, and productive heavy equipment operators and stationary/facilities engineers to the construction, pipeline, stationary and environmental industries.

National Transportation Training Directors upcoming Conference

Hold the Dates, October 7-11, in Chattanooga TN

Each year NTTD highlights innovative training policies, programs and technologies that serve the unique needs of the transportation community, bringing together DOT staff and trainers, LTAP personnel, and national training resource experts from federal, university and private sector organizations. Members of the transportation training community exchange ideas about training innovations and resources, develop collaborative relationships and networks, and learn from leading experts in the field.

Visit the NTTD page for more information at http://nttdonline.net/nttd-annual-conference !

 

 

Tech Talk Recap: Smart Cities and Transportation with Kenneth Leonard

On February 20, 2018, the fifth event in the Lunchtime Tech Talk series took place and featured speaker Kenneth M. Leonard, Director of the U.S. Department of Transportation Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office. Leonard spoke to a full crowd of attendees including NJDOT personnel. Leonard, a recognized leader in the field of ITS, focused his presentation on the USDOT Smart Cities Challenge and the way connected cities and communities could become “smart”.

The Smart Cities Council has deemed a Smart City to be one that uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability. Leonard explained that connected infrastructure technology can support a smart community through such things as connected vehicles, sensor-based intelligent infrastructure, smart grids, data management and urban analytics, among others. He shared an example of components of a connected city, citing that “Transportation is critical to making a city work—in commuting to work, education, entertainment, as well as shipping and receiving products”.

Leonard highlighted the Columbus, Ohio demonstration project where a $140 million investment in Smart Columbus will create the Columbus Connected Transportation Network, which will include integrated data exchange, enhanced human services, and electronic vehicle infrastructure.

Leonard suggests that smart communities produce desired outcomes that include safety enhancements and efficiency in services. The Smart Columbus project has measurable outcomes, such as: enhanced safety through reduced truck accidents, increased mobility through minimized travel times, improved employment opportunity by reaching underserved communities, and improved air quality from reduced truck congestion and increased access to EV charging stations.

Columbus was selected as the 2016 winner of the USDOT Smart Cities Challenge competition, which included the participation of 77 cities nationwide. To read about the Smart Cities Challenge, please visit: https://www.transportation.gov/smartcity

 

Resources

View the presentation: Leonard, K. (2018). Smart Cities and Transportation.

 

Transportation Career Spotlight – Patricia Ott

NETWC: What motivated you to get involved in civil engineering in general, and transportation in particular?

Patricia Ott: My father was biggest influence growing up, and my biggest supporter in getting me involved in engineering. Growing up I was a tomboy, and I loved to build things with my father. I always had an aptitude for math and science, and I had a talent for mechanical drawing. Once I arrived at Rutgers University, one of the first courses I took exposed you to all the different types of engineering so that you could pick a path for your next four years. I really took a liking to Civil Engineering; I loved the lab work and working with concrete. I went to the construction side of things because at the time, there really was no distinct transportation field.

NETWC: How did your K-12 background prepare you for college?

PO: Not very well. We had separate tracks in my high school; one for those who wanted to go into college, and another for those who were planning on taking a vocational route. The problem was, I excelled at mathematics, but a lot of the courses I wanted to learn were in a different track. So I did my best to take courses in both tracks, even though it wasn’t smiled upon. I remember when I planned on applying to engineering school, my guidance counselor counseled me against engineering, saying I would find a four year college too difficult and the program too rigorous, and advised me to go to accounting college instead. Thankfully, I disagreed and had the support of my parents to move ahead with engineering.

NETWC: Were there any other female engineers with you in the program? It seems to be a rare major for young girls, especially at the time.

PO: The ladies room was never crowded. There were only four of us. And I chose an even rarer combination of doing a five year double major of Civil Engineering and Psychology.

NETWC: That’s a fascinating combination; why did you choose psychology? Is that something that you feel has helped you as an engineer?

PO: I had a passion for people, and understanding people and how they think from a cognitive standpoint. And I do feel like it helped me immensely in my career. When I was at NJDOT, there were career track that you could be on; you were either going to be an expert engineer, or you were going to be a manager. Thanks to my aptitude in psychology, I was able to supervise people very well and I eventually made director. I think being both an engineer and a manager of people are key abilities to have if you want to advance in your career.

NETWC: Why did you choose to work at NJDOT?

PO: Because they were hiring. The job market at the time was poor, and I remember interviewing thinking this was the best chance I had to get involved with building, design, and materials…things I was very passionate about. It was after being at NJDOT for a few years that one day the New Jersey Institute of Technology announced that they were starting a pilot program for a Masters in Transportation. They approached NJDOT about holding the program with a dozen of us from NJDOT, and that’s where transportation really became more prominent in my career.

NETWC: How did working for NJDOT help you shape your career?

PO: I’d say the most important aspect for working for NJDOT was that it allowed me to become a truly well rounded Engineer. Whether it was design, safety, construction, materials…I even spent a year working with the budget director which helped learn more about finances and allowed me to become a better engineer, and a better director.

NETWC: Would you say you have a career accomplishment that you are proudest of at NJDOT?

PO: I can tell you one of things I’m most proud of; I was voted on by my staff for the department’s diversity award, for having the most diverse staff. It made me feel extremely proud to have my department be recognized for all the different people we had brought in of all different backgrounds. Also, being able to look back now at all the people who I was able to bring in that have gone on to have successful careers at NJDOT themselves. It’s extremely rewarding. And in that vein, I would say the thing I miss the most about NJDOT is the people that I worked with.

NETWC: How does it compare to having your own firm?

PO: Both are wonderful, but going back to my fathers influence, he always told me to try and work for yourself if you can. I got to the point where I was able to retire and start my own business and I took it. It’s great because now I can focus in on the things I really care about. I get to focus on traffic, safety, and saving people’s lives.

NETWC: In regards to the next generation of engineers that you are helping to train, there are concentrated efforts to get more women involved in STEM careers. What kinds of barriers do you think exists to getting more women involved?

PO: Well I think there is still a stigma that exists for young women. I have never considered myself to be a female engineer; just an engineer. There is no gender associated with it. But still, the lack of role models that exist in the field helps contribute to the perception I think leads many young people away from the field.

Part of the difficulty also lies with the teachers themselves. I have many friends who are teachers in the K-12 level. They would not have any idea what to even talk to the students about, or where to begin in discussing STEM careers. You have to start early. In the safety world, we try to reach out to kindergartners to help develop a safety culture.  Similarly, young people need to be reached in that K-12 timeframe if you want to instill a passion for STEM careers. Then they can carry it with them throughout the rest of their school days. The good thing is, there seems to be more opportunities today and more flexibility for students. The potential is out there, we just need to do a better job of inspiring them and educating them as to what a career in engineering actually entails.

There are so many potential avenues in STEM today that I think it limits the number of excuses you can make. People can enter STEM through engineering, planning, computer science…thanks to all the new technologies out there, the number of pathways are numerous.

NETWC: Are these barriers similar to what you faced?

PO: Absolutely. Things have changed for the better, but we still live in a culture that is inherently unequal. We talk a good game, but we need to do more to break down those barriers.

NETWC: What advice do you have for young women today who are interested in starting a career in engineering?

PO: Be fearless. I know many people, at least in my age group, who were fearful of math, and turned off by things they saw as “boys careers”. Life is tough enough without letting people put you into a box, and I think it’s important for young women to live up to their own expectations, and not the expectations that other people, or society in general has for them.

Also, I think it’s important to be goal oriented. I have seen studies that show that many women don’t take STEM majors; that’s one problem. But I’ve also see that many women who took take STEM courses in college ultimately avoid STEM careers. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons for why that is, but we need to do a better job of continually motivating our young girls to see not only the path ahead of them, but where that path could eventually lead them.

When I did the Summer Transportation Institute, it was focused on careers. We did a half day program on safety, and we also did a piece on careers based on the four E’s. Engineering, Enforcement, EMS, and Educations. And I highlighted all the careers within those four E’s so that young people could see all the potential landing spots in transportation ahead of them.

NETWC: Thanks so much for speaking with us today Mrs. Ott, we appreciate you taking the time.